Transport operators are expressing their readiness to embrace the central bank digital currency called Jam-Dex, introduced by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ). If all falls into place quickly, these operators could integrate Jam-Dex into their systems by the upcoming year.
Aldo Antonio, the co-founder and acting executive chairman of the National Transporters Alliance Group (NTAG), has been working to persuade fellow transport owners to adopt Jam-Dex. He sees it as a way to enhance the efficiency of their operations while reducing costs and security risks.
Antonio recognises that the present enthusiasm among transportation owners might be lacking, largely due to the limited usage of Jam-Dex among vendors and consumers. He acknowledges that for Jam-Dex to succeed, both ends of the system – users and merchants – need to actively participate. Without sufficient customers using Jam-Dex, merchants might lose interest over time and abandon the system. He stresses the need for aggressive promotion to ensure the system’s success.
Antonio envisions Jam-Dex as a transformative tool for the public transportation sector. He believes that promoting its use for bus and taxi fares would significantly contribute to the currency’s adoption, given that transportation and food are two essential transactional aspects of daily life.
From the perspective of transport operators, Antonio points out that Jam-Dex adoption could address the challenge of handling cash daily. Collecting, storing, and transporting cash is time-consuming and expensive. Jam-Dex’s digital wallets would enable immediate transfers, reducing these costs and concerns. Furthermore, it would eliminate the inconvenience of making change for passengers.
Antonio acknowledges that there’s some reluctance among transport owners due to the currency’s limited visibility in their daily lives. He believes that as more transport operators embrace Jam-Dex, it will become more appealing to the hesitant ones.
Antonio estimates that around 25,000 to 30,000 transport owners serve hundreds of thousands of people daily in the country. Presently, around 10,000 vendors accept Jam-Dex, and approximately 200,000 individuals use the digital wallet Lynk, provided by NCB Financial Group. Another financial institution is testing its digital wallet with the central bank, and around $257 million worth of digital currency is in circulation.